Roseanne Reboot Throws Trump Supporters a Bone — But Don’t Gnaw on It Just Yet

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The reboot of the groundbreaking sitcom Roseanne debuted on March 27 on ABC with unbelievable ratings. The original show ended in May of 1997, and it seems that people missed it, as the premier received a 5.1 rating, the highest-rated Tuesday night premier for ABC since 2006. More than 18 million viewers tuned in to see the new show, which portrays Roseanne Conner, the character played by Roseanne Barr, as a supporter of Donald Trump.

Some on the Right are lauding the new show as some sort of cultural shift, a slight move on the part of Hollywood toward more conservative values. President Trump even phoned Barr the day after the premier to congratulate Barr on the show and to thank her for her support. On ABC’s Good Morning America, Barr called the phone call “exciting” and said of Trump, “I’ve known him for many years and he’s done a lot of nice things for me over the years.”

But it is probably a mistake to believe that the new show signals some right-leaning trend in Hollywood. The first episode of the show features a cross-dressing seven-year-old and a storyline in which one of Roseanne’s daughters is considering being a surrogate mother using her own eggs. And that’s just in the first episode. Outside of a few “Make America Great Again” gags, the show’s content is not conservative.

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ABC is the same network that cancelled the Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing, which featured Allen as a conservative. Although the network asserted that the cancellation had nothing to do with Allen’s conservative views, it is difficult to reconcile that claim because the show had excellent ratings for a Friday night show.

In a tweet, Allen said that he was “blindsided” by the cancellation. He later said, on Norm McDonald Live, that “there’s nothing more dangerous, especially in this climate, than a funny, likable conservative.”

Much has been made of Barr’s supposed support for Trump, but that support wasn’t so strong during the election of 2016. In an August 2016 interview with Dave Rubin, she said of the coming election between Trump and Clinton, “It doesn’t matter which one of them wins, it’s the same bulls**t. It’s a duopolistic fundraising arm of the prison-military-industrial complex.” On the Todd Shapiro show, Barr said of Trump, “He has a fresher slate … (but) he’s a complete idiot.” Neither comment reeks of hardcore support for the president.

Barr’s politics don’t seem to fall into any recognizable category. She is neither conservative or liberal or even libertarian. Perhaps her views can best be expressed as Roseanne-ism. In 2012, Barr ran for president as the nominee of the Peace and Freedom Party, with anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan as her running mate. She received more than 67,000 votes even though she was on the ballot in only three states.

On the Rubin Report in 2016, Barr railed against the status quo in culture, predicting the “collapse of capitalism,” and raving, “Capitalism is on its death bed.” She spoke against “national socialism” but encouraged, “socialist solutions” in dealing with many of the issues of the day.

“You pay your taxes to get something,” Barr said. “In a decent socialist structure, one receives healthcare — or something — for their taxes.”

So, it may just be wishful thinking to believe that her character’s support for Trump on the revived sitcom signals a new right-leaning trend in Hollywood. In fact, the opposite may be true. As Ben Shapiro points out in The Daily Wire, the show might be an attempt to redefine Trump supporters as having a purely economic rationale in voting for Trump and not a cultural one. “In Hollywood, you can say you voted for Trump because you thought Hillary was an elitist and you wanted to try something else in terms of economic strategy,” Shapiro pointed out. “But if you stand against abortion or say that same-sex marriage is not equivalent to traditional marriage or say boys can’t become girls and shouldn’t dress like them, you’re an evil Bible thumper.”

While it’s nice to see a Trump supporter on mainstream television that is neither evil or stupid, it’s prudent to note that this is Hollywood, and things can change as fast as a writer’s keystrokes. Roseanne is a Trump supporter. Fine, I guess.

But watch out for those upcoming plot twists.

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